BeautyView: Erin Hazelton, Freelance fashion and beauty writer / Blogger / Mama

I can’t remember how many years it has been since I met Erin, or how exactly we met, but we have been friends for a long time. The type of friends that know it’s ok if we don’t see each other for a year, we just pick up where we left off. Through marriages (hers and mine), children (both hers), and life in general, we have somehow managed to stay in touch and meet for an annual-ish glass of champagne, usually in New York City, most recently in Geneva. And the world being small the way it is, she married a fabulous man who spent time in Geneva, knows my Mom, and is friends with one of my oldest Geneva childhood friends. Go figure… There are many things I love and admire about Erin: her writing (including her blog, The People I Like), her amazingly long hair that has no split ends, the fact that she always looks absolutely perfect (maybe because she is always overdressed, as she freely admits below), the fact that she moved across the Atlantic to live in a French castle, and most recently how she calls me “hers” because I am her first friend in Geneva. Girl crush? Maybe!

AP: What city were you born in? EH: Boston, Massachusetts.

AP: What city to do you live in? EH: A city it is not! A small village is more like it. It’s called Saint-Pierre-en-Faucigny. It’s in the France Alps somewhere between Geneva and Chamonix.

AP: What is your middle name? EH: Ann.

AP: What is your astrological sign? EH: Pisces.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? EH: I don’t know! That I’m an open book? That I used to run competitively? That I’m an Irish citizen? All of the above?

AP: What is your most prized possession? EH: My kids.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? EH: Jesus Christ. I have a few questions for him…

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. EH: I’m always overdressed.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? EH: No watch, just bracelets. I’m never on time.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? EH: Diamonds!!!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? EH: I don’t wash my face with water.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? EH: Rose. Always rose.

AP: Botox or not? EH: I’m definitely thinking about it! I heard Dr. Luigi Polla is excellent… and not from you or anyone in your family: From a Russian woman!!!

AP: Hair color: natural or not? EH: Natural… that’s the only way I can keep it this long.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? EH: A little bit of everything. Seriously. If I ever try to ignore a craving, I’ll make up for it ten-fold later. I only eat “whole” foods. Nothing processed. Any flour has to be complete… and it’s usually some weird type of flour like green lentil or chickpea or quinoa… my poor kids. But they don’t know the difference.

AP: What do you do for exercise? EH: I run outside and use the elliptical at the gym… that’s when I get to watch my TV shows! I do light weights and abs. I try to keep it toned, but not chiseled. I like a woman’s curves. I like my man chiseled though!

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? EH: Chèvre, yogurt and milk…

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? EH: Does champagne count?

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? EH: I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’ll let you know if I ever do.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? EH: No idea. A lot but not nearly as much as you!

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? EH: 1. Don’t bring your kids! Just kidding… kind of. 2. Don’t drink tomato juice… too salty. Your ankles will be even more swollen when you get off the plane. I don’t understand why everyone drinks tomato juice on the plane! What is that? 3. Bring comfortable flat shoes. I know why I find this so hard to do… and I always end up running to H&M to buy a pair of sneakers.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. EH: “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. “Pick Yourself Up” by Nat “King” Cole. “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin.

AP: What book are you reading right now? EH:The Autumn of the Patriarch” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

AP: Quote to live by. EH: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? EH: People being unkind to other people.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? EH: The kids usually charge our bed sometime between 6.30 and 7.30 each morning.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? EH: A little dab of something can make you feel a thousand times more beautiful… instantaneously.

AP: Least favorite thing. EH: Too much unnatural-looking plastic surgery.

AP: Who is your mentor? EH: My husband.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. EH: Hang in there. Stick with it. Don’t give up. It’s easy to throw in the towel, it’s much harder to withstand the difficult moments and persevere.

Geneva travel guide: my favorite places to eat, drink, shop, and play

The beauty of my travelling lifestyle is that I make friends in one continent and find them again in another. Case in point, the fabulously chic and exquisite Erin Hazelton, whom I met in New York City when she was Erin Skrypek. She has since moved to St Pierre en Faucigny, France, about 30 minutes outside of Geneva. Today, we met at the Mirror Bar in Hotel Metropole for some rosé champagne and a catch-up. She inspired this blog, when she asked me for some recommendations of places to have fun, great food, and fabulous cocktails in Geneva. This made me think about my home-town, and all of the places I (and my sisters and my cousin!) love to spend time, shop, and people watch.

Best beauty address: Of course, there is only one… Forever Laser Institut, my father’s premier medical spa on the Place du Molard. Go there for a facial, for a massage, for the best injectables and medical spa treatments in Geneva and the surrounding areas. Of course, you can also go there to look at the art on the walls, my father’s favorite pieces from his personal collection.

Best art address: Analix Forever, also owned by my family. My mother will take the time to explain any show in detail, and show you an amazing collection of drawings and small pieces (which I love, as they fit in small (or what I like to think of as “normal-sized”) apartments.

Favorite hotel: Hotel Tiffany, on Rue de l’Arquebuse, directly across from Analix Forever. This boutique hotel with excellent service blends art nouveau and contemporary styles to perfection. Even if not staying there, this is my go-go place for a café on the terrace (weather permitting).

Favorite clothing boutiques: Of course, there is the Bon Génie , the best department store in Geneva. I go there mostly to shop for extravagant gifts for the children in my life (they are not mine, so extravagant gifts are ok), and to have a glass of champagne with my godmother at the BG Café. I also love to go to Apostrophe on Rue du Rhône for classic sweaters, slacks, and skirts.

Favorite Parisian-style café: if you want the feel of being in the heart of Paris, surrounded by intense and crazy intellectuals, the Remor is your place to go. In the morning for great croissants and espressos, while reading the paper. In the afternoon, go there for ice-cream  In the evening, go there for wine and conversation.

Favorite alternative, live music hangout: L’Usine. This is a recommendation courtesy of my 20-year old cousin, who loves the live music here, although he warns me that I might be too old and conservative for it… I seem to have recollections of going there during my high-school days, although I don’t get in to that conversation with him…

Three favorite places in one: As I ask my sisters for additional advice on this topic, the Grand Hotel Kempinski comes up a few times. Le Java is a fabulous night spot, pretty much representing the other extreme from L’Usine. I guess that would be the place for me, now that I am the age that I am and too old for L’Usine… Floor 2 also in the hotel is a great high-end, classy bar, where it sounds like I might want to take my husband, featuring great cocktails and an atmosphere that makes conversation easy. Then there is Le Grill, the restaurant in said hotel, where my sister Rachel says the thing to get is the “fillet de boeuf mademoiselle.” I am definitely going there!

Best Italian, possibly my all-time favorite place ever anywhere: Auberge Communale d’Onex. My family started going there in the mid-1980s, and I still go there today for the nostalgia and for the amazing food. Valentino, the chef and owner, is like family to me, as are his waiters, who all sport amazing mustaches. The ricotta is to die for, any pasta tastes as if it was from my grandfather’s kitchen, and the desert tray is the best there is. I will always remember that as we used to have an account there, meaning they would mail us our bill, it was to my sisters and me when we were younger “the place where we ate so well but never had to pay!”

Best lunch place: This is a tie, and a hard one. First, Le Relais de l’Entrecote, where they serve one salad, steak with an amazing sauce (all you get to pick is how you would like it cooked), and fries. It is always packed, lively, consistently delicious, and a must. Second, Le Baroque. This is in the same building as my father’s medical spa, and a great spot for business lunches (fabulous terrace, again weather permitting), or any lunch. I have to admit to also going there for apéro on weeknights after work, and only in part because their décor is exclusively purple…

Most artsy restaurant: Curiositas, a restaurant located at the intersection of three fabulous museums, i.e. Musée Patek Philippe, Musées d’Ethnographie, and Mamco (museum of contemporary art), where you not only enjoy great food, but also discover the cabinet of curiosities of owner Jean-François Schlemmer.

Best wine bars: there are two, depending on your style. Casual afterwork style would be the Soleil Rouge, where I know my team members have been a few times when I have called them around 1 pm Washington DC time… If you are looking for a slightly higher-end (aka more expensive) after-work glass of happiness, Rouge et Blanc on the “bord du lac” is phenomenal. If for some reason your “afterwork” is later than most people would expect, i.e. 9 pm or later, the Brasserie des Halles de L’Ile is the place to go (and apparently they do a fabulous Sunday brunch also, which I will have to try).

Best area in general according to my sister Roxane: Carouge. I don’t venture out there, or have not yet, but she recommended Brasserie de la Bourse on Place du Marché, for fabulous steak frites, and le DixVins, a tiny French-style bistro that serves amazing food.

Finally, if a meal just isn’t enough time and you want to make a weekend of it, the place to go is La Réserve, a fabulous hotel, restaurant, bar, and spa that makes for the ideal getaway from “normal life,” ideally with the love of your life.